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David Morgan-Hewitt and London's Goring hotel are perfect partners. Both are exceptionally warm, welcoming and witty, and you really could not imagine one without the other.
Morgan-Hewitt is one of the most recognisable and generous hoteliers in the business, and he has overseen the transformation of the hotel alongside the owner Jeremy Goring from a very good four-AA-star property to one with five red AA stars, where the quality of the bedrooms and the public spaces match what has always been outstanding service.
Alongside his day job, he is also a Master Innholder, a member of the London advisory board of Springboard, a fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Innholders, a freeman of the City of London, a former chairman of Pride of Britain and an honorary catering advisor to the army.
Morgan-Hewitt joined the 90-bedroom hotel 27 years ago, initially as restaurant manager before becoming general manager and eventually managing director in 2005. However, he may never have enjoyed such a long and successful career in what has become one of the world's most instantly recognisable hotels if he had listened to his father, who wanted him to become a lawyer.
Although he did begin a law degree at Cambridge, Morgan-Hewitt hated it and ended up reading history at Durham. Working at a hotel in Norwich during his holidays inspired what has become a life-long love of hospitality, although it was to be several years before he entered the industry at Reads restaurant in London's Old Brompton Road, via an earlier career in PR.
On joining the Goring, he initially worked for Jeremy's father, George, who stepped down from running the hotel in 2005. Morgan-Hewitt told The Caterer in 2014 that working with father and son had been instrumental in his development as a hotelier because they were "obsessed with continually creating a better experience for the guest".
He continued: "It is not about sweating the asset - something that I think is totally unique in London - and, of course, this is the approach I take. They have allowed me to have a personality, which is a good thing."
Although George Goring was initially unsure about the "flamboyant" Morgan-Hewitt at the time of his appointment, the family quickly came to recognise that his larger-than-life personality and cheeky sense of humour endeared him to countless guests.
Amanda Afiya, former editor of The Caterer, said: "Morgan-Hewitt's contribution to the hospitality industry is impossible to encapsulate in a few words. An absolute giant of the industry, he has given more than a quarter of a century's service to his beloved Goring, chaired numerous organisations and initiatives crucial to the sector, and devoted immeasurable hours to the progression of others.
"Highly cultured and unbelievably erudite, he never fails to educate or enlighten those around him. And despite his grand surroundings, not to mention the extraordinary company he regularly keeps, he never puts on any airs and graces - instead, he is incredibly down to earth and eternally self-deprecating. Kind and generous, he is forever thinking of others. It is entirely appropriate that we should turn the spotlight on him."
2016 Robin Sheppard, Bespoke Hotels
2015 Philip Newman Hall, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
2014 Robin Hutson, Lime Wood Group and Home Grown Hotels
2013 Patrick Dempsey Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants
2012 Paul Gayler, The Lanesborough
2011 Gordon Campbell Gray, Campbell Gray Hotels
2010 Alan Parker, Whitbread
2009 Willy Bauer, AB Hotels
2008 John Williams, The Ritz London
2007 Grant Hearn, Travelodge